Yesterday was our meat-free meal day, and we actually had two ideas for the meal, one I had planned, and then one my sister-in-law had suggested that sounded really good as well. My idea was Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions. it’s a great one pot meal, completely vegetarian if that’s what you are looking for, and very filling and satisfying.
Lentils and Rice with Caramelized Onions
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped, plus 1 large or 2 medium onions, halved and sliced
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups lentils, washed and picked over
6 cups water, vegetable, chicken or beef stock (your preference), warmed
1 cup long-grain rice
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
Put 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the chopped onion and cook until it begins to become tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, cumin, and some salt and pepper and cook for 3 minutes more. Add the lentils, stir, and add 4 cups of liquid. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the lentils begin to soften, about 20 minutes. Add enough of the stock or water so that the lentils are covered by about an inch of liquid. Stir in the rice. Cover and turn the heat to low.
Meanwhile, put the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, cook the onion slices, stirring frequently, until they are dark brown but not burned, about 15 minutes. Scoop out the onions and let them drain on paper towels while you finish cooking the lentils and rice.
Check the rice and lentils after 20 minutes. When both are tender and the liquid is absorbed, the dish is ready. If the lentils and rice are not tender, add more liquid, cover, and cook for a few more minutes. If the rice and lentils are soft and there is much liquid remaining, raise the heat a bit and cook, uncovered, stirring, until it evaporates. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary and serve, garnished with the caramelized onions and parsley.
The lentils and rice make for a very hearty meal. The second meal for meat-free night is Browned Cabbage and Noodles. Michelle loved the sound of this one so we thought we would give it a try.
Browned Cabbage and Noodles
3 pounds cabbage
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 sticks butter
3 tablespoons grated onion
2 teaspoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound broad noodles, cooked and drained
Wash the cabbage and grate very fine. Mix in the salt and let stand for 2 hours. Rinse, drain and dry the cabbage (you could skip this step if you wanted and just go straight to cooking).
Melt half the butter in a deep large skillet or Dutch oven. Mix in the cabbage, onions, sugar and pepper. Cook over low heat for 1 1/4 hours, stirring frequently. Add the remaining butter after 1 hour. Toss in the cooked noodles until thoroughly mixed with the cabbage. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
This recipe serves 6 to 8, so you can adjust the recipe down a bot if you are cooking for a smaller crowd, like I do. There’s not many ingredients in this one, but it does take some time to make it. It’s also a great one pot dish, and I really like those as it cuts down on the clean up afterwards.
So that was Wednesday’s meal, nice and easy. Check back later today for tonight’s meal of Sesame Chicken Stir Fry with Fried Rice and Steamed Vegetables. It promises to be quite tasty. See you later!